Appelate Law

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SHANbangs
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Appelate Law

Postby SHANbangs » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:40 pm

So from this website http://www.chambers-associate.com/Pract ... ries/42586 it says that appelate lawyers do some pretty interesting work relative to other areas of law. Now law as a field is still pretty foreign to me, so I'm wondering what everyone else thinks about this. Also, how does appelate law figure into the hiring landscape for law grads? Do big law firms hire for appelate right out of law school? Or is it something u can only get into after having experience? And how does one go about getting a good appelate job? Do you have to have graduated from t-14? This kind of work sounds very selective - even more so than normal big law. Or maybe I'm just talking out of my ass.

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JusticeHarlan
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Re: Appelate Law

Postby JusticeHarlan » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:46 pm

Check out some musings from this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=126044

Bottom line: its a tough gig to get, if we're talking big firms; general requirement is a prestigious clerkship.

maf70
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Re: Appelate Law

Postby maf70 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:50 pm

SHANbangs wrote:So from this website http://www.chambers-associate.com/Pract ... ries/42586 it says that appelate lawyers do some pretty interesting work relative to other areas of law. Now law as a field is still pretty foreign to me, so I'm wondering what everyone else thinks about this. Also, how does appelate law figure into the hiring landscape for law grads? Do big law firms hire for appelate right out of law school? Or is it something u can only get into after having experience? And how does one go about getting a good appelate job? Do you have to have graduated from t-14? This kind of work sounds very selective - even more so than normal big law. Or maybe I'm just talking out of my ass.


*cringe*

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nealric
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Re: Appelate Law

Postby nealric » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:26 pm

It almost requires a federal appellate clerkship. It also usually requires the ability to spell "appellate".

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JusticeHarlan
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Re: Appelate Law

Postby JusticeHarlan » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:34 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:I have no idea if this is just an artifact of not having billable hours, a blackberry, unreasonable bosses, or other trappings of firm life, or if it is genuinely due to the nature of the work, but my job right now (CoA clerk) is focused exclusively on appellate law, and nearly all of the time I love it. Tough questions, important issues, and a (fairly) sharpened record are hallmarks of appellate cases. I submit that each makes the job more enjoyable as compared with trial work--not that there aren't advantages to that as well (e.g., a lot more human interaction, more practical for most litigation jobs, etc.).

I'm interested, GTLR, if time has altered your position in the thread I linked to, where you doubted that appellate law was necessarily more interesting than trial work? You said, "a case doesn't get more interesting just because the court changes from a district court to an appellate court. In other words, an ERISA or contract case doesn't get any sexier just because you're in front of 3 or 9 judges rather than one." Am I to infer that experience has colored your view?

Not trying to bust your chops, just curious how/if you've come around on this issue.

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JusticeHarlan
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Re: Appelate Law

Postby JusticeHarlan » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:01 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
JusticeHarlan wrote:I'm interested, GTLR, if time has altered your position in the thread I linked to, where you doubted that appellate law was necessarily more interesting than trial work? You said, "a case doesn't get more interesting just because the court changes from a district court to an appellate court. In other words, an ERISA or contract case doesn't get any sexier just because you're in front of 3 or 9 judges rather than one." Am I to infer that experience has colored your view?

Not trying to bust your chops, just curious how/if you've come around on this issue.

Fair question. I still stand by what I said before: the mere fact of a case being before an appellate tribunal, as opposed to a trial court does not make the case more interesting. But there is a selection effect: the less interesting/difficult cases are appealed less often, and in many courts of appeals, some or all of the routine cases are handled by staff attorneys. The end result is that term clerks work on the most interesting stuff available. And if one were to work at a firm on civil appellate cases, many of those would be of the more difficult/interesting variety as well--although there are a fair number of dry, highly technical ERISA, class action, and jurisdiction/procedure cases (to name a few) that aren't exactly the stuff of dinner conversations as well.

Thanks, GTLR. Great stuff as usual.

2LLLL
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Re: Appelate Law

Postby 2LLLL » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:36 pm

It almost requires a federal appellate clerkship. It also usually requires the ability to spell "appellate".




Well presumably you could also do state appellate work after doing a state supreme clerkship. I have a family friend who is pretty much the top state appellate specialist in my state and she seems to do alright for herself.

But yeah if you want to join GDC's appellate lit practice, or one of its peers, you're going to need a CoA clerkship and probably a prestigious one at that. The fact is that appellate work isn't really a profit center for BigLaw, so its unlikely that you'll be able to get a position in that practice.

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Wholigan
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Re: Appelate Law

Postby Wholigan » Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:04 pm

Based on what I have seen here and in other threads, it seems credited that you need a federal appellate clerkship to do this type of work, and a relatively small number of firms do appellate work. Out of curiosity, how exactly does this work? Aren’t most CoA clerks on deferred offers from firms? (And district clerks also for that matter.) If they are hiring you based on summering there, they aren’t going to know that you are going to get a clerkship at that point, or what kind of clerkship, right? Is it common for people who get elite clerkships to jump ship on the firms that have deferred them?

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SteelReserve
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Re: Appelate Law

Postby SteelReserve » Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:30 pm

The life of the appellate lawyer (aside when drumming up business of course) is one spent almost exclusively at the desk/computer, whether it's doing legal research on West/Lexis, reading through primers, local/federal rules books, or writing the brief itself. Aside from the brief and infrequent moments doing oral argument (which 90% of the time is just going through the motions because judges/clerks make decisions on the papers for the most part), it's a desk job where you read and think about the law, comb over the trial court record, and write.

Which is absolutely fine if you like doing research and writing appellate briefs, in which case it's a great field for you. Some of us prefer the interaction with other people that comes through (non-biglaw associate) litigation, such as negotiating, correspondence, client intake, settlement conferences, conversing with opposing counsel, taking deps, trial work, motion practice etc.

Before you take a plunge into law for all the uncertainty that comes with law school now, I would encourage you apply to judges in the area for internships; my friend was an intern in federal district court before he went to law school and I think this would give you an idea of what an appellate lawyer does (granted district court for the most part doesn't do appeals but it gives you an idea of what doing lexis reserach and writing legal briefs/opinions entails).




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